Ash Wednesday

Last year we examined the Collects for Mass during Lent. This year let’s look at the Super Oblata. There is a page for Lenten prayers.   Also, you can right click the calendar image to "View" and see a larger version.

Sacrificium quadragesimalis initii sollemniter immolamus,
te, Domine, deprecantes,
ut per paenitentiae caritatis labores
a noxiis voluptatibus temperemus,
et, a peccatis mundati,
ad celebrandam Filii tui passionem
mereamur esse devoti.

This prayer has roots in the ancient Gelasian and the Gregorian Sacramentary.


Praying to You, O Lord,
we solemnly raise up the Sacrifice of the beginning of Lent,
so that through the exertions of the charity of penitence
we may abstain from harmful pleasures,
and, cleansed from sins,
we may be worthy to be dedicated
to celebrating the Passion of Your Son.


Some of the Fathers would to the time of the Lenten fast as a sacramentum, preparing us for the mysterium of the dying and rising of the Lord. For example, St. Leo the Great in his magnificent Lenten sermons refers often to the season as sacramentum.

Here at the threshold of Lent, let us make our "Lenten start". In the sacrament of Penance, Christ will cleanse your slate and you may make a renewed beginning.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. Raphaela says:

    Father, St. Leo’s sermons de jejunio quadragesimae are my Lenten reading project for this year, thanks to Fr. Coulter making the Latin texts available on his website. Actually I got off to an early start and read the first two last weekend. They really are marvellous — and as a lapsed classicist I’m quite miffed that the very existence of Leo’s writings was completely ignored by every classics department I ever studied at.

    As you have a background in classics too — why do classics programmes seem to make such a point of ignoring the later literature (including Christian writings such as Leo)? Is it just stylistic snobbery about post-classical Latin being beneath their notice, or are there darker undercurrents at work?

  2. Lame duck ICEL version:

    Lord, help us to resist temptation
    by our lenten works of charity and penance.
    By this sacrifice may we be prepared to celebrate
    the death and resurrection of Christ our Savior
    and be cleansed from sin and renewed in spirit.

  3. Willie says:

    quadragesimalis initii = of the beginning of Lent

    or Lenten beginning?

  4. Willie: Of course it is “lenten beginning” but that doesn’t mean much in English. It means “beginning of Lent”. This is similar to what we do with oratio dominica, “the Lord’s Prayer” rather than the “the lordly prayer”.

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